Monday, February 27, 2017

The Wildernizer

At left, public domain image of a turkey as hosted on wikicommons. Thanks Dimus. Nice snap.

It's Monday morning and Lou the foxhound and I are on our own this week. The smell of sausage in the pan fills the air and if I wasn't wandering into the office here in a bit I'd start the woodstove.

The Wildernizer.

I woke up this morning with the sound of spring turkey in my ears and the usual Kate Bush playing on the alarm. Weird dreams. I blame John Gierach.

I thought things had gotten a little soft around here last night as I climbed into bed. 

I was reading a camp cooking article from John Geirach in an issue of Fly Rod & Reel magazine: "Camp Food" (Spring, 2013) which had done a good job of capturing the observational humor of a fly fisherman and his vittles. The recipes which followed were about as urban-ified as to be in pure discord with John's preceding yarn but then, editors.

Gierach mentions a buddy in his article who cooks eggs sunny-side up in a fashion where the tops are raw and greasy and the bottoms so over-cooked as to require a knife to eat them.  With this image in my head, I turned to an adventure yarn and submarines under the polar ice caps reading too long for good measure because tomorrow was in fact Monday and I looked to end the weekend all too well rested unless something changed.

I awoke to the concept of the Wildernizer.

There's too much civilization wandering around this place. Lou and I cooked eggs and sausage on the all-electric range making coffee in a GSI Outdoors brand french press coffee-maker (the Keurig needs de-scaled and I won't do that until the night before Beargirl is due home .... just like laundry).

The Wildernizer is an environmental control app. iPhone certainly. Probably Andriod.

To make coffee in the morning, it requires one to at least light a match. Probably three. The NEST people are in cahoots so your electrical grid access is appropriately filtered for a taste of the wilderness experience.

No sulfur odor, no power to the range. Simple engineering. We've had smoke detectors since '80. Let's put 'em to use for something besides scaring the dog when the battery gets low and they start the occasional blatting business.

Instead of Holst or Vivaldi on the alarm, you get turkey gobbles, chirps, and an occasional sound of wingbeats from a big tom leaving the roost.

Snooze mode, you say? 

Truck door slams at the next campsite over as the virtual  fly fishing buddies leave early to catch the dawn midge hatch. Second snooze and you're rewarded with the Chevy Suburban from '76 that never quite catches on the first start. Big V-8's are like that; but, you'll have forgotten what with your second Prius and all.

The slider lets you adjust the "level" of wilderness in the experience. 

Push it a little to the right and the morning is enhanced by the smell of spring skunk having gone off a couple hundred yards away around 4 AM. Push it a little more to the right and the kitchen trash is knocked over and spread around --- just a bit -- from the virtual raccoon assistant [ probably an upcharge in-app purchase].

There's the "extended" mode which awakens you at 2 AM with the sound of snuffles outside the tent. Not perhaps "snuffles" but more like "SNUFFLES" of a large quadruped. Deer? Elk ? Bear? Newfoundland? [ Apologies to Patrick McManus. Your story stuck with me from the summer of '79 when I read it on an August night hot enough to sweat bacon still in the crisper drawer. ]

Push the slider all the way over and the virtualization of augmented reality kicks-in. That's no longer Cheeto -- your wife's cat -- trying to steal most of the bed all night long but a squirrel with a bad attitude you discover in a caffeine-deprived fog of half-dawn.

Yes, the app moderates the display illumination to ensure your experience is complete stumbling in the twilight of false dawn looking for your camp shoes you were sure you placed in the vestibule of the tent. Where could those have gone? Raccoon, again (definitely in-app purchase).

I haven't figured out quite how to make everything damp with the heavy dew of early spring. Maybe I should just go with frost. Those NEST folks come from the HVAC control world, after all.

Oh, yea. There's a market here. 

Look for it soon in the App Store. It's sure to get by the "approved" app-store filter of those turtle-neck wearing millennials at the Apple spaceship. Well, ...

Perhaps if I get the folks at REI to advertise inside the app it'll be more appealing to the gatekeepers of culture. Pop-up kayak ads? Hmmm. Sounds about annoying enough.

It's been a long winter already and I need to get into the field. So do you.


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